4 Things CEOs Should Know Before Hiring an SEO Expert in 2021

4 Things CEOs Should Know Before Hiring an SEO Expert in 2021

No matter the nature of your business, having an effective and well-designed website is crucial as UK adults now spend more than a quarter of their waking time online. Today, driving more traffic is one of the key goals of every business. Driving traffic becomes even more important if your business sells its products or services online.


But attracting more traffic is not easy. Google display network and search engine marketing are powerful tools for driving traffic. Paid ads can also increase traffic significantly but can be expensive and eat up your budget. Also, users tend to avoid ads and paid promotions. 


The most cost-effective approach is to get more traffic organically by improving your rank on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). To pull that off, you need to work on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your website.


Why hire an SEO expert?


While you will be able to learn the basics of search engine optimisation yourself, you’ll probably quickly understand why your competition is beating you for the top spots — they’ll have access to an SEO expert. An SEO specialist will probably have a couple of years of experience under their belt (a long time in this business) and will be called a “specialist” for good reasons. Your business will greatly benefit from tapping into this experience. 


So, what’s the first step? Well, having your website among the top three positions on the first page of SERP is important. The difference in click-through rate (CTR) between the first and the fourth search result is huge.


Getting to the top of SERP is a daunting task. You can’t just optimise your website and think you’re good to go. Your competition may well be working daily to overrule you on mutually important keywords. You’ll quickly discover that SEO is a time-consuming job. 


As a CEO, it’s probably not realistic for you to be the person undertaking this task. That’s why you should hire an SEO expert. LinkedIn is still the best option for finding talent, and it’s not hard to learn how to post jobs on LinkedIn.


Before we get started, we advise you to learn the basics of SEO, to understand what you’re dealing with and what to expect from the person you’re hiring. So let's take a look at what to keep in mind when hiring an SEO expert in 2021.


Create high-quality content


It’s important to remember that Google doesn’t like websites that are stuffed with keywords. It wants to protect its users by creating a pleasant experience with quality content and it requires the same from you. 


As a result, every effective SEO strategy begins with creating quality content. Plenty of it. For example, an SEO specialist will likely suggest publishing new content on your blog on a regular basis. 


Quality is key because Google actually has a way of telling if you are just clumping up keywords for the sake of it. Websites with quality content are rewarded with a higher Domain Authority (DA) score. Adding visual content like infographics, gifs, and interactive maps is always good as it adds visual interest and improves user experience.


Google is always updating and improving its algorithms, so a good SEO expert will keep a close eye on the latest trends and changes. 


There are tools that allow anyone to be up to date with the market’s latest trends, and provide you with SEO software market analytics. You, as a CEO can use this too, it will help you decide your potential SEO expert’s level of expertise and experience.


Learn how to identify an experienced SEO expert


Similar to any skill, learning SEO is a time-consuming process that takes several years to perfect. Be aware of the many so-called SEO experts out there that think they have mastered SEO overnight!


Not everyone can afford to take on an amateur SEO specialist who can learn on the job so if you’re looking for immediate results, hiring a seasoned SEO expert is a must.


An experienced SEO professional can get a glimpse of a website and almost instantly know what they could change to improve its ranking. Every website has its own story, and an SEO specialist will take a different approach to each site.


A less experienced SEO specialist will often try a ‘one size fits all' approach to every project they encounter. A good exercise to consider when interviewing potential candidates for your SEO role is to give them an assignment consisting of a range of different websites and let them elaborate on what they would change and why. This will give you a good idea of their methodology. 


Understand the difference between three SEO strands


Before going ahead and hiring someone,  it’s important to understand these three different aspects of SEO:


  1. On-page optimisation — this consists of using HTML tags and keywords in order for you to drive more traffic to your website from the SERP. This also includes having quality content, SEO-friendly poster design, links to your other content, articles, etc.
  2. Technical optimisation — this ensures that a website meets the technical requirements so the search engine can determine if your website is of high value. Good technical optimisation will enable your site to climb up on the SERP rankings.
  3. Off-page optimisation — this includes everything done outside your website to improve its ranking with the search engines. One of the most popular of these is link-building from other websites so that your website gets a higher Domain Authority score, which Google values.


You’ll want an SEO specialist who is comfortable with all of these in order to achieve the results you want. 


On-page and off-page optimisation are easier to manage but technical optimisation is a specialist area and you’ll want someone with the right experience to take this on or manage it. They’ll need to know about website architecture and construction and be able to deal with the following:


  • Fixing broken internal and external links
  • Ensuring your URLs are properly structured
  • Removing duplicated content
  • Finding crawl errors
  • Making sure your website has an optimized XML sitemap


This list could go on and on but the bottom line is your SEO expert should have a grasp of the technical side of the job and not just be an expert on content. 


Accept the fact that SEO takes time 


Hiring an SEO expert doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a bump in traffic a few weeks later. How long this process takes depends on the condition of your website. If we assume that your website’s SEO needs work (most websites do), the first results would likely show in about six months.


If you come across an SEO expert who claims they can move you to the top of the search ranking in a couple of weeks, it might be time to move onto the next candidate. Search engine optimisation is a medium to a long-term commitment that needs time, skill, and determination.


You’ll want a candidate who is straightforward about the whole process and not afraid to talk about the time needed for results to show. 


The bottom line


The best advice we can give you is to avoid self-proclaimed SEO experts that promise you the moon and stars. Also, the best way to recognise a competent SEO expert is to learn the basics of SEO yourself so you can understand what’s involved. When you know the fundamentals of optimisation it will be easier to spot people who are over-promising. 


Your new SEO professional will want a lot of quality content and articles from you. They know that Google values user experience and optimised, user-friendly useful content. Be prepared to help out with creating this content.


Also, use your contacts. Think of people you know who run a successful online business. Maybe they use an SEO expert they can recommend to you? If not, check out some PEO companies that can help you find the right person for the job.


You are in this for the long haul so find a specialist who wants to really get to know your company and is willing to work with you to grow your business.


by Nick Chernets | 28 Jul 21

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